CBHMA President’s Message Spring 2013
Mike O'Keefe, President
Photo by David Cantrell
Dear CBHMA members,
It’s that time of year. The CBHMA conference weekend is right around the corner, June 20-23. Preparations are almost complete and the only thing that we need is your registration. If you haven’t done so, now is the time to make your room and flight reservations and mail your registration form.
For our 60th anniversary we will be hearing from General Custer himself (Steve Alexander) at our Saturday night steak dinner and auction. You don’t want to miss this special event when we will have a welcome gift for all first-time attendees. The Board of Directors plans to present the Association’s first “Life Time Achievement Award” to an active member. Please be there to congratulate the recipient of this honor.
If you have never attended, please fly to Billings, Montana and drive the scenic, easy 45 minute route to Hardin. The nearby historic Little Bighorn Battlefield is quite an experience, one you will never forget.
A new event will be held this year, the Author’s Forum. Our first speaker will be award-winning writer Paul Hedren. For all of us who have ever wanted to write and publish history, Paul will talk about choosing a topic, researching, organizing, writing, editing and publishing. Do you need someone to write your introduction? an agent? a contact in the publishing business? Paul will answer these and other questions and thereby provide the head start that many successful writers never receive.
Our annual auction has received a significant facelift. Coordinating this event is new Board member Michael Sullivan, who has implemented several major improvements. It will feature historic documents and images, “silent auction” items and generally better quality pieces than we have offered in the past. Conference registrants will receive a $5.00 credit that they may apply to successful bids. Mike’s article in this issue contains additional information. In celebration of the 60th birthday of the CBHMA, please consider donating a quality item. Thank you!
I have experienced the recent pleasure and privilege of working with the new superintendent of Little Bighorn Battlefield, Denice Swanke. In the course of several conversations she truly impressed me not only with her intelligence but also her dedication to the mission of the National Park Service and the legacy of the Battlefield. Supt. Swanke will welcome us at our Friday Symposium, may attend our Saturday field trip and will speak at our Sunday Annual Meeting at the Battlefield Stone House.
We hope that our annual donation to Little Bighorn Battlefield will be used to repair the park’s antiquated water system. An old cistern must be overhauled to provide clean drinking water. This critical work should be completed before the summer tourist season.
This and other serious challenges threaten the infrastructure of the park and pose potential public health and safety risks. For further information, please refer to “Battlefield Update” and the article on alternative transportation systems in this issue.
Our field trip includes “Pompey’s Pillar” and Visitor Center. We will see the carved signature of Captain William Clark, one of the leaders of the Lewis and Clark Expedition that passed through the area in 1806. Sitting Bull’s followers fired at Custer’s 7th Cavalry at this historic landmark from across the Yellowstone River. We will proceed to the site of the Canyon Creek fight between the 7th Cavalry and Nez Percé in 1877. Dr. Richard Fox will be our guide.
Our last visit will be the grave of scout Luther “Yellowstone” Kelly on Rimrock Ridge overlooking Billings and the Yellowstone. The Billings Chamber of Commerce will invest $160,000 to improve Rimrock Park and Kelly’s grave. Our guide will be Jerry Keenan, the author of the definitive biography of this frontiersman. Weather permitting, Billings Public Library will display Kelly’s map of the area.
Finally, some good news: CBHMA will apparently be in the black for the fiscal year that ended March 31. The Board of Directors has trimmed costs and we are awaiting our annual audit to confirm this result. Thanks to all who have assisted in this effort!
Please remember that the best ways to help our organization are to attend our annual conference, to sponsor a new member, to run for the Board or to volunteer for some other activity or program.
I would enjoy your feedback on my comments or other matters of interest and concern. Please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your support of the CBHMA and its mission!